Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.
Hey everybody, welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and today my guest is Lance Nutt. Lance is a 30 year Marine veteran and the founder of, founder and CEO of Sheepdog Impact Assistance, and we’re going to be talking about what Sheepdog Impact Assistance is all about, how they help veterans, but before we get into all that, first, I want to welcome you to the show, Lance.
Lance Nutt: glad to have you here. Thank you. It’s a pleasure as always, Scott, and I look forward to it. Having the opportunity to share our story and talk more about, uh, what our veterans and first responders are experiencing.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. Um, for the listeners who aren’t familiar with you [00:01:00] in, in your background, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Lance Nutt: Uh, you bet. I, uh, a little bit of a, uh, adventure from a, a life standpoint as I reflect on. My 50 plus years of being connected to, uh, our heroes, I grew up in the Marine Corps. And so I was surrounded by men and women who had a passion for serving their country. My father was a 20 year Marine Corps Naval aviator.
Uh, flew helicopters in the Marine Corps for 20 years, and, uh, I was blessed to have him actually swear me into the Marine Corps the year before he retired. So I, I share that to also say, though, that, uh, my Boy Scout leaders, my Sunday school teachers, my coaches, my neighbors, you name it, we’re all. Heroes in my, uh, eyes.
They were the men and women that, and not just the men that served and the women that served, but [00:02:00] also just as important, uh, the, the spouses and the dependence of. These men and women in uniform that were so willing to give so much, uh, they had a tremendous impact on my life. Uh, as you can imagine, growing up in the 70s and 80s, uh, most of the men that, uh, I came in contact with were Vietnam vets.
And so they always had very powerful stories to share, and they impacted as much as my dad did, my decision to join the Marines. Uh, you know, they were very impactful and preparing me, I think, mindset wise for what service, sacrifice, and a willingness to fight actually meant. And so that’s really where my story begins and growing up in the, in the Marine Corps.
And then, of course, I joined, uh, right out of high school, and that began a, um, a very interesting 30 years plus of service, uh, that included a [00:03:00] mixture of active duty and reserve time, uh, multiple combat deployments, uh, recruiting duty, uh, you name it, uh, just, uh, an opportunity to serve,
for me, is beyond just the wearing the uniform. It’s, um, it’s a mindset, and that, for us, uh, As an organization, that’s where the name comes from, you know, Sheepdogs, uh, it’s those men and women that are willing to serve and protect, uh, and if need be, a willingness to die for others. And when we talk about that sheepdog mindset, it truly defines those men and women that are willing to run in the direction of chaos and danger when so many others are running away from it.
So, uh, my life genuinely, uh, uh, has been a life of service from the standpoint of being around those that served or a life myself of serving. So, uh, powerful from the [00:04:00] standpoint of, I think, being the dependent of and then wearing the uniform myself. I’ve seen it from all, both sides of the fence. I understand the pain, uh, that comes with having a family member gone quite a bit.
Uh, always off in some foreign land that makes it pretty stressful. And of course the side of being away from my friends and family. So, uh, yeah, a, uh, a powerful, powerful life of appreciating what our sheep dogs do for our nation.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I, I know when I grew up, um, we, we grew up in a family that, uh, really supported the, uh, the military law enforcement first, any first responders, really anyone who put on a uniform and was willing to sacrifice them themselves for Complete strangers really when it comes right down to it.
Um, yeah, you may be neighbors. Um, you know, you may live a few streets down from the person who’s coming to put the fire out at your house, um, but you may never have met [00:05:00] that person before, you know, just depending on where you live. It’s, it’s maybe just that kind of environment where you don’t know that that that person, um, but they don’t care.
They’re they’re, they’re gonna, they’re going to help you out anyway. So you’re going to do whatever they can. And yeah, it may, may cost them. You know, they may get injured. They may get killed. Uh, they, they may do, um, stuff to themselves that’s gonna, um, you know, cause that injury, but they are there to help.
And they’re, they’re, like you said, they’re the sheepdogs. They’re the ones who are protecting other people. Um, and, and that is such a super important thing. Uh, to have in a society is, is those people who run towards the danger and not run away from the danger because the danger is going to be there one way or the other.
Right? Um, but, but having people who are willing to, um, to face the danger head on, um, It’s not an easy thing to do, but, you know, I’m super grateful that we have those people in our society that are willing to do that. Um, but those people need [00:06:00] help too, sometimes. And I think that’s, um, kind of the gist of, um, you know, the Sheepdog Impact Assistance and the type of organization that you run,
Lance Nutt: right?
That’s exactly right. You know, it’s such a unique class of people. It, uh, I think we get lost in truly appreciating how valuable these people are to our society. It’s so unique from the standpoint of such a small percentage. of our population falls into one, the category of one having a desire to do with these men and women.
But then that next step is meeting the basic qualifications. And I know, unfortunately, right now, that’s one of the things that we as a nation are struggling with is, you know, men and women that meet. The basic qualifications to even serve and so it’s, it’s shrinking that pool to an even smaller percentage of the [00:07:00] population within our society.
That, uh, will actually give in this capacity, um, and of course, you know, you can make the argument all day long or the importance of serving what it does for you as individuals. And, um, I wish more people were doing it. You know, we go back to looking at. You know, World War II is an example, um, you know, there’s a generation there where everyone knew someone who had served or was serving, and that has dwindled so much, uh, you know, since World War II, even through Korea, Vietnam, and up to today with the war on terrorism, uh, a smaller and smaller and smaller percentage.
Uh, of our population, where’s the uniform? And that also includes, obviously, our first responder community. Um, so disappointing to see kind of where we are when we, and how we treat those individuals, but again, more importantly, so few people are willing to step up and do such an important job [00:08:00] that enables all of us to have and enjoy the freedoms that we, that we have today.
Scott DeLuzio: that’s another good point too. Um, you know, just the, um, the attitude in society is sort of. Take a little turn from probably when you and I were young, um, it’s certainly changed a bit. And, um, you know, they’re, um, they’re not as appreciated and respected as maybe they should be. And, you know, it’s a sad thing because, again, these are the people who are willing to run towards danger to go protect complete strangers.
Um, and they get spit on and they get called names and they, they’re, you know, dragged through the mud and everything. It’s just not the right thing to do. Um, not in my mind anyways. Um, so I want to talk a little bit more about Sheepdog Impact Assistance. Um, what were some of the motivations that led you to creating the organization?[00:09:00]
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Lance Nutt: Well, you know, great question from the standpoint of appreciating my background, right? It’s, you know, obviously this organization would not exist if I hadn’t served and understood the need and it goes back to, you know, watching so many men and women, even my younger years. Watch them struggle as they transitioned out of the service and then it was my father, you know, my father given, you know, up to the point where he retired, he’d given his entire adult life to serving his country.
And then all of a sudden in your early to mid 40s, you’re told, hey, thank you for your service. Um, you can go do something else. And, you know, now in my 50s, early [00:11:00] 40 doesn’t sound that old, but, uh, I know for many when you start facing starting over, it’s pretty daunting, uh, when you’re kind of in that midlife, you know, area.
And so I think you couple that with sometimes that midlife crisis where we really start to appreciate our mortality. And the fact that our days on this earth are numbered and then you’re being told at the same time, you got to go start a new career. You got to find something else to do with your life.
And, you know, so I saw it early and I say, I have to be honest, though, and say, I didn’t really understand. Right. I knew my dad was struggling. I was like, what’s wrong with my dad? Come on, pops. You got to pull through this. And, and the same with, um, friends of his that I saw do that, or, or, you know, men that had lived in the communities that I was familiar with hearing stories of them struggling and then fast forward to my own service.
And I hit that point, [00:12:00] right, where I knew that, hey, this, this lifestyle, the Marine Corps that not only have you been serving in, but that you’ve spent your entire life a part of, I started to appreciate that that’s going to come to an end at some point, and that I’ll no longer have the ability to put this uniform on and, and serve with so many amazing men and women.
And I started to fill that void, uh, or started to fill it from a standpoint of understanding it. I could recognize it within myself. And so two different words of filling, right? I could feel what was happening to me, but I also knew that I was going to need to. Fill that void with a replacement of some sort.
Something that would continue to give me pride, uh, in my ability to serve others and also, you know, an opportunity to continue being around the men and women that I cherish so much per their desire to give back. Yeah. So, As I started facing the [00:13:00] reality of retirement, um, and or just, you know, ending my career at some point, it was a question of what am I going to do?
And the unfortunate side for me really hit home as I would come home from deployments and I would have Marines and Sailors take their own lives. And for me, that’s when it really went, wow, you know, these are men and women that are struggling, whether it’s having to leave the service due to injuries.
Both physical and mental, uh, and or just, um, that next phase in their life, taking them away from something that meant so much to them and. So, as I went on my own journey, uh, joining different organizations like the American Legion, VFW, getting more active in my church, you know, volunteering more with sports and stuff with my, my children, I realized that I was missing still [00:14:00] something that really.
to find who I am. And so since I couldn’t find it, that’s what really led up to me starting Sheepdog, was creating an organization that matched me. And what I realized quickly also is that it matched a lot of other men and women out there that needed to be around men and women that truly matched their desire as a sheepdog.
Uh, you know, someone who really Wore the uniform for what we call the right reasons, right? And so that, that need to get men and women up off the couch and keep them moving forward in a positive way. Uh, started with myself and that’s ultimately what led to us starting, uh, the organization that is Sheep Dog Impact Assistance.
Scott DeLuzio: And you know, it’s interesting that you said how you started the organization, uh, kind of modeling it after your own needs and, and the things that were, uh, important to you and your, your values, your beliefs and [00:15:00] whatever it’s, um, you know, kind of modeled after you, but the funny thing is it, you were not alone and, uh, there’s other people who had similar, uh, things that they were going through.
And, um, now here you are. Impacting those people with the, uh, the work that you’re doing. Um, and the reason why I bring that up is because there’s a lot of people that I’ve talked to who found themselves sitting on their couch, feeling all alone. Like they’re all alone in this world. And there’s nobody out there who understands what they’re going through.
Nobody else has gone through this. And, um, but it’s like, that’s complete crap. Like, no,
Lance Nutt: there’s other people out
Scott DeLuzio: there who’ve gone through exactly what you’re going through and they want to help. And there’s, there are those people out there, yourself included, um, who do want to provide, uh, some sort of service to help them get back on their feet, find a purpose and mission and meaning in life, uh, outside of wearing that uniform, [00:16:00] because we all take it off at one point or another.
Um, you know, we, we can’t. Spend our entire, uh, working career in the military, unless we’re, you know, up in some, you know, high level, high ranking, uh, you know, official, um, you know, we’re in the White House cabinet or something. I don’t know what we’re not going to be doing that forever. Um, it’s a very small majority of people, a small minority of people who, uh, you know, get to, uh, you know, spend their entire career, um, you know, wearing a uniform, um.
And even you, you know, you, you, you spent 30 years, uh, in one capacity or another in the Marine Corps, um, but that’s not your entire working career. Like you have more left in you, you know, you’re, you’re in your fifties. You still have more time, uh, you know, ahead of you. So it’s like, okay, what’s next and figuring out that next step.
Um, in your case, it’s continuing to serve and continuing to help out other people. And I think that’s a great thing. I, I, that’s, um, kind of a, um, you know, the best part about [00:17:00] what it is that you’re doing is that you’re, uh, not only are you helping yourself by finding that next step, but you’re helping other people, uh, along the way as well.
Um, which I think is awesome, right? Yeah, and that’s,
Lance Nutt: I think, really the key on what you hit on is, it’s understanding that these people, you know, they’ve, they’ve given so much and what we refer to our nation’s heroes is that they are the best among us. Yeah. Right? It’s, these are the men and women that.
Have experienced powerful things, whether it’s, you know, learning the discipline and the drive behind the importance of serving is having those intangibles, right? The courage and commitment and honor and most of these men and women, they come into the service. If they don’t have it, they have a desire to gain a greater appreciation for it so that they can then, um, exemplify, you know, the, the [00:18:00] very traits that we hold so high, uh, in the men and women that serve, you know, I think we as a nation outside of maybe the Vietnam era, uh, have done our best to really appreciate the men and women that do serve, but there are so many pitfalls out there too, and the thought process that, Hey, these men and women got it all together.
They, you know, they’re, they’re our nation’s heroes. There’s nothing wrong with them, right? They, they go do these great things and they come home and they’ll just keep doing great things. Uh, the reality is that that’s just not the truth, right? These, these men and women are human and they struggle. And when you, and sometimes I share the story about.
Service dogs, sheep dogs, right? A dog that has a purpose and its life is defined by that purpose, whether it’s a drug sniffing dog or a service dog that helps, you know, a human that has certain challenges, [00:19:00] uh, you know, a military working dog, a police dog, whatever that is. The reality is that when those dogs are taken out of that service and don’t have an outlet and doing something else, they ultimately lay down and die because they believe that, okay, my reason for being here over the next transition is dying, right?
Yep. How sad is that when we think about our men and women in uniform, that when they leave the service, they believe that the best thing they will ever do is that behind them. And they ultimately just kind of give up on living. Uh, that’s a horrible thought. And that’s a huge part of why this organization exists and what, why I knew I needed to find something, uh, and ultimately created it was, uh, I knew that I had a lot more to give, but our, our nation, unfortunately, our government and our military organizations are not set up to help us.[00:20:00]
They do a horrible job and enabling us to transition in a healthy way so that we can appreciate our own worth and value to society. If our men and women in uniform are the best among us, then why are we not doing more to enable them to continue going on to do great things? And I reflect, unfortunately.
On my days as a marine recruiter where I used to say it, I would say to men and women that were joining, this is the best thing you will ever do with your life. . Oh my God. I set them up for failure right away. I, I was telling them that when you take that uniform off, you will have done the best thing you’ll ever do.
Right? When the reality is, I should have been saying, this is the best thing you’ll ever do in setting yourself up for an amazing life for the better things that you’re going to do. This is the type of experience that’s going to enable you to succeed in [00:21:00] so many other ways. So, I think that’s where, for me, the rubber meets the road in acknowledging that we’ve got to do a better job for these men and women, and that it’s so important that they understand their value and their worth.
and that their journey and giving back to their nation began with wearing the uniform. It did not end. That’s
Scott DeLuzio: right. All right. I’m, I’m kind of laughing to myself over here because you said, you know, joining the Marine Corps will be the best thing that you do for your life. And I’m just picturing some private out there mopping up the rain or something and, you know, some stupid punishment or something just in the back of his head saying, this is the best I’m going to do.
Lance Nutt: Yeah.
Yeah, I, you know, there’s so many stories that go with that too, where we, but the fondness of that is that’s what you look back on and miss, right? It’s true. Yeah, it’s it. I see a meme every [00:22:00] once in a while, you know, of a young Marine outside in a rainstorm, mopping the parking lot, right? Yeah, that was his punishment that day for something stupid he did in the learning process.
And, um, To drive the point home that that was the wrong thing to do, you know, his, his, his platoon sergeant or company gunny or whatever has a mountain a downpour in the parking lot mopping the parking lot with a mop. Right? Yeah. But, and as you’re doing it, you are cussing whoever it was that made you do it and you’re.
But you know what? Two weeks later, three weeks later, you’re laughing about it as you share that story with your fellow Marines or, or they’re making fun of you for when they saw you out there doing it. And those are the things that you look back on that you go, you know what? That that built some character that taught me.
the value in making good choices because I don’t want to be out in the rainstorm mopping again. So, um, [00:23:00] yeah, it, it is, it’s, uh, it’s a double edged sword sometimes, but as you progress in life, it’s the things that we appreciate the most. That’s right. It
Scott DeLuzio: is. Um, so we’re talking about Sheep Dog Impact Assistance, your, your organization.
Tell us about what it is that you guys do, the range of programs and offerings that you, you have for veterans and first responders.
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Lance Nutt: Well, you know, it’s, I used to say, we’ll do it all, right? We’ll do anything and everything that enables us to make the difference in the life of a [00:25:00] veteran or first responder that’s struggling. And, um, while that’s still true in many ways, I think where we as an organization have really fine tuned ourselves is in appreciating the value, one, of beginning by getting these men and women up off the couch.
Those that maybe are at home struggling and have gone home and sat down and trying to figure out what’s next, right? And, You know, we, we started as an organization, uh, that, that was built around the idea of continued service, uh, disaster response organization. We used to say, uh, we were all about putting down M 16s and picking up chainsaws.
It, it was the, our new weapon of choice, uh, in a, a new direction in life of service. The hard part was coming to the realization that, uh, As an organization, men and women would come with us on these disaster missions, we’d have an amazing impact on those communities. [00:26:00] We would more importantly than feel great about ourselves, right?
We, we coined the phrase helping is healing, uh, back in those days where, uh, you know, the ability to go and help others helped us heal from some of our own traumas. And the reality, though, was that when we came home, and we had just experienced something that helped us feel good again, we had the camaraderie of service.
We have like minded individuals while we were out helping during a disaster and, uh, the power of giving back and feeling like we were making a difference. But then you come back home and you sit back down on that couch and unfortunately, we found ourselves going, I need another disaster to happen. So I can feel good about myself and think about that.
I needed something bad to happen. So I could feel good about myself and, uh, we went, Oh, my Lord, we can’t, that, that can’t be the only thing that, you know, drives us. So we then said, we got to fill the void. Can’t plan [00:27:00] disasters. Let’s plan other activities. And so we started doing what we refer to today as outdoor adventures.
We would, uh, we would encourage one another to, let’s get together and let’s go run a Spartan race or any adventure race, fill in the blank. Let’s go hunting, fishing, camping, hiking. Canoeing, Scuba Diving, Skydiving, Rappelling, Snowmobiling, you name it. If someone would come to us and say, Hey, why don’t we do X or have we ever thought about doing Y?
Uh, we say, okay, let’s do it. Sounds like fun. It gave us a reason to get up off the couch and get together again and enjoy that camaraderie and time together. We kind of the same thing as you fat we fast forward, uh, 7, 8 years. Um, we started in 2010. It was still kind of the same thing. You know, we felt great when we were to get.
Yeah, we felt great when we were doing stuff. But then we had to go home and the [00:28:00] challenge. Was we didn’t know how to deal with being home. We didn’t know how to deal with the adversity of life All right, and there that’s where it really begins where we talk about this the struggle that is life Everyone struggles to one degree or another.
It’s a matter of what do you do with that struggle, you know? And especially yet again as you’ve left the service or left a life of service And taking off whatever uniform it was that you were wearing, um, you, you have this emptiness and it’s like, well, I’m struggling now that I no longer have these important things to do.
Uh, where do I go from here? And we really started to. Dig deeper into going, okay, while we have these men and women. As a captive audience, either on a disaster mission in the evenings when we’re done working. Or on an outdoor adventure. In between the fun stuff that we were doing, how are we going to help our men and women understand their value, [00:29:00] their worth, and how are we going to help them go home and be in a better space, in their, in their space, right?
And so we started developing, you know, different programs that we were researching, et cetera. And I still, you know, we are professionals in it. None of us were psychologists. Or, you know, had to train necessarily as, as counselors, et cetera, to really pull and develop the program that we needed. And a few years before COVID, and it timing wise for me personally was perfect because, um, as I was retiring in 2018, I was also going through a divorce.
And I was struggling mightily, searching for more within my own organization, but also without, you know, outside of it and, you know, making myself more whole. And it’s when, uh, we had, uh, one of our state senators, Senator Bozeman, refer me to [00:30:00] Boulder Crest Foundation, uh, and they were running a program called Warrior Path.
And Senator Bozeman said, you know, I want you to take a look at this program, one for yourself. But also for, uh, Sheepdog, I’d like to see if y’all might be able to bring this program to Arkansas and the region. And if it had been anyone other than Senator Bozeman, I probably would have balked at the idea and, you know, I’m always hearing all these great ideas out there, right?
But I went and I talked to the founders, Ken Falk and Josh Goldberg, and they said enough. They convinced me that I wanted to learn more, so I agreed to attend one of the programs. They had two locations at the time, Virginia and Arizona. I went to the Arizona Warrior Path program retreat. Uh, which was a seven day intensive mental wellness program led by our peers, men and women that have worn the [00:31:00] uniform.
And to make a long story short, I went there to observe and kind of grade and check out this program. But by day two, I realized that was there for me. It was having that big of an impact on my life. So quickly and realizing that I too, even though, you know, Marine Corps Sergeant Major, I’m supposed to have all my stuff together, all my ducks in a row.
Guess what? The reality is that I’m human just like everyone else. I struggle. And the big part of Warrior Path is teaching you how to turn your struggle into strength. So think about that. When we’re struggling, how do we, how do we learn from and grow into? Becoming a much better, stronger individual. And warrior path is all about that through the process called Post-Traumatic Growth, P T G.
It’s teaching us how to take post-traumatic stress. And use it as a launching pad into growth, post traumatic growth. Again, taking our struggle [00:32:00] and turning it into strength. And so, the power in that is that ultimately in visiting more with Josh and Ken, it was a desire from them that we do more to share the power of Warrior Path.
Initially, it was us bringing in our men and women into the programs that we were doing with Outdoor Adventures and Introducing Warrior Path language and terminology and post traumatic growth thought, uh, to the point where, uh, Boulder Crest Foundation asked us to become a partner of theirs and actually host courses.
So, all of that is now grown into what we refer to today as the Avalon Action Alliance. We are one of eight partners. Across the nation that facilitates warrior path programs where we bring in veterans and first responders and teach them how to turn their struggle [00:33:00] into strength through post traumatic growth and still a seven day program.
Uh, we have a 50 acre ranch called Heroes Ranch. Within our organization as Sheepdog and, uh, we host now two courses a month on average in conjunction with our outdoor adventures and other training programs that we run there to where everything that we do is built around the concept of post traumatic growth and helping our men and women go home now, right?
There was that challenge. Men and women would come to us with struggles. We would feel good as we were doing stuff together and they’d go home. And they continue not, not knowing how to deal with their struggles, especially those back at home, marital issues, financial strife, uh, health issues when it came to not taking care of themselves physically, all things that we teach and touch on within our Warrior Path program.
And so I feel that today as an organization within our three pillars of getting men and women [00:34:00] up off the couch to outdoor adventures. Introducing the idea of post traumatic growth and then giving them the opportunity to then go deeper and further with Warrior Path as our second pillar to ultimately now our third pillar, our disaster response programs is all about you having the opportunity for continued service, the chance to continue giving back.
When you feel like you no longer have purpose in your life. So I feel like the balance that we have with those three programs really fits us. Well, it enables us to do the best that we can for the men and women that we serve. And it’s great that you
Scott DeLuzio: have the programs, especially, you know, the disaster response programs where.
People can continue to serve because it’s clearly in their blood. That’s, that’s a part of their DNA, who they are. They, they rose, raised their hand. They, they, they were sworn into the military to serve the country, um, just like everybody else. And [00:35:00] that’s, that’s what they want to do. They want to be of service.
They don’t want to, Just waste away and, you know, punch a clock nine to five and, you know, whatever. And, you know, in some, some job that doesn’t really mean much to them. They, they want to be able to help people. And, and like you were saying before, you don’t want to be wishing for disasters because obviously that’s, um, that’s bringing hardship on other people.
And that’s not what you want, but. When those disasters inevitably do occur because they’re all around us, whether it’s, you know, wildfires or earthquakes or hurricanes, tornadoes, whatever you, uh, type of disasters. And there’s others as well. There’s just, you know, a few examples, but those things happen all the time.
And having people around to help. Pick up the pieces when, when everything is said and done. I mean, um, that’s, that’s a very powerful thing to have there. Um, but those three programs kind of all working together, I think is [00:36:00] important too, because you have so many people who, um, they get back from deployment and they just want to go back for another one because that’s where they feel at home.
Not, you know, home here. They, they feel more at home. Um, you know. In the midst of chaos and, uh, you know, the, you know, combat environment that they might’ve been in, that’s where they feel more comfortable. Um, but learning how to have that comfort level back at home with your family, with your friends, with, you know, your, your neighbors and everything like that.
That’s what we need to put back into these people. And the military does a great job at helping you put on the uniform, but not, not so great of a job with taking it off and coming back home. Um, and so that’s where, where I see you guys fitting in, right? Yeah. I mean,
Lance Nutt: you hit the nail on the head. I think that transition piece is, is what’s so critical.
Um, and we, and to say that we’re failing is an understatement. Yeah. You know, I can’t stress that enough. [00:37:00] We as a nation, and it starts with our military. Our military spends, let’s take myself for example, 30 year Marine Corps veteran, Sergeant Major, when I retired, the Marine Corps spent 30 years training me, developing me, turning me into whatever it was that they needed me to be, which I loved, right?
Just absolutely passionate about my time in service. They spent probably hundreds of thousands of dollars turning me ultimately into a Marine Corps Sergeant Major over that period of time. And what we refer to as they were putting armor on me. They were teaching me how to put all these different types and pieces of armor on.
And where they ultimately failed me is in not helping me to understand the importance of [00:38:00] and or how to. Take that armor off. Um, they basically they put all this armor on me and then they shoved me out into the what we call the real world, right? Uh, you know, a civilian world that doesn’t know how to deal with this man now covered in all these plates of, you know, metal, this armor, right?
And, um, there’s where the challenge really begins with our men and women that have served. And again, I use the first responder community in the same, the same realm of this conversation that, you know, we spend all this money turning someone into a law enforcement officer. A firefighter, you know, EMT, you fill in the blank and then we do a horrendous job of helping them transition back into a civilian life.
Um, and that’s where we have to have a bigger, harder discussion, because if we keep saying that these are the men and women that are the best [00:39:00] among us as a society, because of their willingness to serve, sacrifice. and fight for us, then why are we not preparing them to go into our communities at home and continue to be great people in another line of service, another capacity?
Why are we not training them now to take that armor off and transition into that new phase of life? We, we as an organization call it your second mountain. Your first mountain is that first phase of your life. Where you made mistakes, you, you know, you experienced so many different things and life took you in a lot of different directions as a, as a young person where you had to experience life to learn, right?
You had to face defeat and success to turn you in who you are, turn you into who you are today. And so that was your [00:40:00] first mountain where you learned so much about life and the challenges and joys that come with life. But then your second mountain is where you take all of those experiences and do amazing things through the growth that you had on your first mountain.
And that’s what we talk about when you transition from the military or the first responder community into your next phase of civilian life. Wow. I mean, think about the power of that. Now’s an opportunity to do so many amazing things with your life because, because of what you’ve experienced, what you know, your story is so strong.
And yet that’s not what the conversation we’re having. It’s a simple, thank you for your service. Good luck. When we need to talk to them about their value, we need to share with them, um, the power of what they’re going to now be able to do. If We talked to them about how to do it. [00:41:00] And I think that’s really for us where the Warrior Path story is, it really begins.
And I do want to, you know, touch on something you mentioned when it comes to disasters, you know, we’ve, we’ve changed, we’ve turned the whole disaster concept inside out, because there’s a huge part of having a continued purpose. So, we’ve changed the narrative of, it’s not just about hurricanes and tornadoes and floods and fires.
There are disasters happening every day in the communities that we live in. Uh, get up off your butts and help make a difference in those communities. Go volunteer, um, you know, in a soup kitchen or a homeless, you know, uh, shelter where people are just trying to pick their lives back up again and start over.
When and where possible, uh, the one that’s, you know, very important to me is the fact that adults don’t want to take the time to coach young people anymore. Uh, if you look at [00:42:00] youth programs across this nation, when it comes to young people wanting to play sports, adults don’t, they quote, don’t have the time anymore.
What? What’s more important than teaching and instructing our young people and what better group of men and women to do that than our nation’s sheepdogs? Men and women that understand and appreciate the value of service and sacrifice. Those are the types of men and women I want coaching my kids. Those are the men and women that taught me as I was growing up.
They were my, again, my coaches, my Sunday school teachers. Uh, my Boy Scout leaders, you name it. Those are the types of men and women that I want making a difference in the lives of our young people. And so, when I talk about disasters, that’s really what we’re trying to drive home with our fellow sheepdogs today, is stop giving up on yourself.
If anything, you are so valuable to us. [00:43:00] And this is goes back to that, you know, the tragedy that that is suicide among our men and women that have served is the fact that they have lost hope in themselves because they no longer believe that they have worth right when, again, I go back to the failure that our military and our nation as a whole is committed because we’re not showing them and reminding them and telling them.
Uh, how valuable they are. We’re not helping them understand how to take that value into the communities that they live in. And that is absolutely where we have to do a better job. We’ve got to improve that facet of how we help our men and women. transition back into civilian life.
Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. And I kind of was laughing to myself a little bit as you’re, you’re talking about, uh, you know, having these men and women who served their communities and, and they’re, like you said, they’re the [00:44:00] best that we have to offer.
And, you know, these are the people that you want to have coaching sports teams and, and things like that, Boy Scouts and, you know. Sunday school and all that kind of stuff. Um, I had a, uh, one of my son’s coaches for, for baseball was a Navy vet and they, they were off, um, they’re chatting with some other friends or whatever.
And, and just his response to them was, you know, 10 year old kid, 10, 11 year old kids. And his response was, come on, ladies, this isn’t brunch, you know, with your, uh, with your girlfriends, let’s go, let’s get on the field, let’s play. And it was like the typical military response to things. And it was like, okay, these kids are going to, yeah.
They don’t want to be called that. And so they’re out on the field. Now they’re doing what they need to do. And it was just a funny way to, uh, in my mind anyways, to kind of get the kids motivated and get them back on the field and everything. And, um, you know, it’s not something that you, you might expect to hear from, um, you know, some other coaches, but, but this guy was, um, you know, pretty, pretty hardcore, uh, you know, from.
[00:45:00] from his, uh, military days and everything. He kind of brought it out into the field and, you know, he, he was the type of guy who,
Lance Nutt: um, yeah, you
Scott DeLuzio: know, that’s, yeah, no, so he was, he was the type of guy who, you know, like when the kids strike out, he doesn’t, you know, you know, Hey, you know, great job, like that great job striking out.
It was like, Hey, you know what, this is what went wrong. Let’s do better next time. You know, that type of thing. And, and so it wasn’t like encouraging the. It was, it was, uh, you know, looking more towards the, um, you know, how can we improve and, and, uh, you know, not, not just accept mediocrity, you
Lance Nutt: know, yeah, I think that’s, that’s one of the, you know, not getting, not wanting to get into politics too much on this, but that’s a challenge that we’re having, you know, within our own society today is this, um, this thought process that one, everyone’s a victim and, or that it’s okay not to succeed.
And, It’s okay to fail. No, it’s not. No, it’s not. I mean, we, [00:46:00] we can learn a lot from failure. That’s right. Uh, so you can, there’s, there’s value in failure. But it’s not okay. It should not be acceptable. It should not be encouraged. Uh, it’s just an understanding that that’s part of life. But at the same time, it’s learn from it, come back and do better next time.
If you struck out, well, what are you going to do to make sure the next time you get a bat, you don’t strike out? Well, you’re going to practice. You’re going to practice hitting. You’re going to practice, you know, learning, you know, to deal with the adversity. of not wanting to get up there and strike out, uh, and being afraid of, you know, the things that you have in front of you.
And I think that a lot of times that’s where it begins. You know, we, we say it’s okay, you know, it’s okay to get up there and, um, and not do your best. No, it’s not, it’s not okay. And that, that, I think again, is something that in the military failure is not an option because failure is death for so many men and women that are serving.
[00:47:00] That’s right. Uh, we don’t want to talk about that as being an option. You know, and again, sometimes it happens. But that’s not the mindset that you want to have that it’s okay, uh, because that ultimately means that you’re losing, uh, the fight that you’re there for and our military men and women need to be in a position and a mindset where they have to win at all costs, right?
So, I think that’s, that’s that 1 thing that can translate into civilian life with young people. is teaching them the importance of challenging yourself to be your best at all times. And to your point, that’s where, you know, our veterans do a really good job of that. Yeah, they
Scott DeLuzio: do. Absolutely. Um, and so I think, um, at this point, I, I’d love for you to be able to tell us a little bit more about where, uh, where people can go to find out more about Sheepdog Impact Assistance, whether, um, I’m sure you probably need some support as far as volunteers, donations, that type of thing, but also, uh, where people can go if they’re [00:48:00] looking to get, get involved in either some of the disaster assistance or.
Uh, you know, some of the outdoor adventures or other things that you guys have going on.
Lance Nutt: No, I appreciate that very much. Um, well, you know, our website, uh, sheepdogia. org, uh, is a primary platform for tracking all the many things that we have going on on an annual basis. Um, but also social media. Uh, you know, we’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram.
Um, I believe we’re on X now. So, you know, formerly known as Twitter, I think is the tagline with that. But, uh, We, we also have a podcast that we have started. Um, you know, we’ve been in the discussion phase for doing our podcast for a few years now, and, uh, I’m actually doing podcast number two, uh, today for Sheepdog Nation.
So, anyone that really wants to follow ours as well, an opportunity for you to learn more about what we’re doing, and what I really love about it, uh, Scott, it’s just [00:49:00] like what you’re doing is we bring on men and women that have served and we enable them to tell their stories and. And talk about the powerful things that they’re doing with their lives now.
Um, but yeah, and from a volunteering and joining standpoint, Uh, we have what we call members and volunteers. Our member base is, uh, men and women that have served that are sheepdogs. And, uh, but anyone can volunteer with us. So when we talk, and the only difference therein is that our members have voting rights within, within the organization.
And, uh, our volunteers don’t vote, but they still have the same ability. To participate in and be a part of what we do as an organization, um, and we run, you know, primarily off of private donations. And so whether it’s, uh, the value of your time that you give or a monetary donation, all is greatly appreciated.
Uh, but also more importantly, uh, if sheepdog listening to this and you [00:50:00] need. Uh, a little something extra in your life. Please take a look at what we as an organization do. Consider signing up for one of our programs. Uh, and if you know of someone, uh, that’s a sheepdog out there that’s, uh, that needs some help, maybe encouraging them to do the same thing, to take a look at us.
And, uh, maybe we can make a difference in their lives. Yeah, absolutely.
Scott DeLuzio: Um, definitely, uh, want to echo what you just said there. For anyone who, uh, feels like there could be an impact either in their lives or somebody that they know, definitely reach out, um, and, and, uh, You know, see, see how you can, uh, you know, improve your own life by going through this and helping other people, um, you know, it’s such a powerful thing to be able to, uh, serve other people and, and giving you that, that sense of purpose and meaning and, and belonging, uh, with that camaraderie with other people who you might be doing that same type of service alongside with.[00:51:00]
Um, you know, we all know what that’s like from the military. We had, we had our, our teams that we were in and we had the people that we served with. And, and those were the people who we would, we would literally, we would die for, you know, we would do anything for those people. And, and so, um. You know, we, we kind of miss that when we get out.
And so having that, that kind of camaraderie again, I’m not saying that we’re, we’re looking to go, you know, jump on a grenade for, for people right now, but, you know, we’re, we’re looking to, you know, get that, that sense of camaraderie and, um, you know, getting back into, um, you know, that type of type of thing where you have that sense of purpose and a mission and, um, you know, and being able to get back into, uh, civilian life.
And really that could be for some people that could be your mission. is learning how to get back into civilian life. Um, and this is a great way to do it. And so definitely check it out. I’ll have all the links that you mentioned, uh, earlier in the, uh, show notes. So anyone can take a look [00:52:00] at that. Um, and you guys, if you’re listening to this podcast, uh, on, you know, Apple podcast, Spotify, wherever you’re listening to it, you’re already in, uh, the app that you can go and check out.
Their, uh, their podcast. Um, so, so go check that out, subscribe to it, um, and, and get that, uh, basically on your, your device right now. Um, you’re already there. Why wait? So go do that now. Um, so it’s been, it’s been great speaking with you today. About all of this. Um, I do like to end each episode with a little bit of humor, um, some, just a little bit of, of, uh, you know, levity to, um, kinda lighten the mood a little bit at the end of the episode.
Um, I’ve been doing a segment called, uh, is it Service Connected? And, uh, for the, the listeners, uh, viewers who maybe aren’t familiar with that service, it’s, uh, I like to call it America’s Funniest Home Videos, uh, military edition. We watch something funny, uh, that that took place and then we try to decide.
Is that service connected? And [00:53:00] sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t, but, um, you know, whenever, whenever it is, um, you know, we, we always, uh, we always kind of kind of joke that at least they have it on video. Um, so that way they have proof that it took place. Right. So, um, So while, um, while we’re here and we’re looking at this, um, this video here, um, I just want to remind everyone show notes, uh, definitely check out the show notes for the, uh, the links to everything that, uh, we talked about, uh, check that out and, um, and get the help that you need.
Uh, but for right now. Um, I want to, uh, pull this video up and unfortunately there it is, um, all right, so we got this video and it looks like for the, the audio only, uh, listeners here, it’s a, uh, looks like a, uh, Marine getting married about to cut the cake with the sword here and, um, [00:54:00] let’s just see how it goes
and he’s cutting the cake and the whole cake went down and actually at the end of that video, it looked like he was kind of cheering. Um, Like it was kind of a good thing. And so, um, I’m thinking this is probably not service connected. Um, you know, yeah, he’s in uniform. Um, but outside of the emotional trauma, this is probably not going to be a service connected thing here, but, um, still, he’s probably going to be hearing it from the missus, uh, afterwards.
We had to do the damn sword thing.
Anyways, um, Lance, again, thank you so much for taking the time to join us. Um, I really do appreciate it. And I appreciate everything that you’re doing and continuing to do, uh, serving, uh, the, the people in the, the veteran first responder community. So thank you
Lance Nutt: again. You bet, Scott. Thank you for the opportunity [00:55:00] to share and, you know, all of the men and women out there that serve, thank you for your service.
And, you know, especially a big thank you to the men and women that support us, you know, our spouses and significant others, our families, our friends that make what our men and women in uniform do possible. Thank you. So I appreciate the opportunity.
Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.